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USA: Masks help detect SARS-CoV-2 in the breath

Sunday, July 4, 2021 06:00 AM (GMT+7)

Most of us are used to wearing a mask to protect ourselves and others from Covid-19, but now it can also be used to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the breath.

That’s what a group of researchers have been working on. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University have gone on to create wearable biosensors integrated into fabrics, essentially allowing wearables to detect germs. sick.

Future masks can be used to detect whether the wearer has Covid-19 or not.

These wearable biosensors were connected to standard KN95 masks to successfully detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature Biotechnology. in one’s breath.

The sensor is activated by buttons and gives results on a reading range in 90 minutes, the researchers say. They add that the level of accuracy is comparable to standard COVID PCR tests, which detect the virus’ genetic material using a laboratory technique called polymerase chain reaction.

To create the sensor, the scientists relied on a technique that involves extracting and freezing the molecular machinery that cells use to read and write genetic material. Pressing a button on the mask releases a small amount of water on the sensor that reactivates the lyophilized ingredients so that they can generate a signal in response to the presence of the target molecule.

According to the researchers, biosensors can be used to detect bacteria, toxins and other chemical agents. A digital signal can then be sent to a mobile app, allowing users to track exposure to a variety of substances.

USA: Masks help detect SARS-CoV-2 in the breath - 3

Medical masks are common items during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This technology could be incorporated into lab coats for scientists working with hazardous materials or pathogens, scrubs for doctors and nurses, or uniforms for frontline workers. Heads and military personnel can be exposed to pathogens or dangerous toxins, such as nerve gases,” said Donghia, a scientist at the Wyss Institute and a co-author of the study.

The researchers say that they can now perform virus tests on blood, urine, stool and saliva samples. These are all things that need to be tested in a lab, but theoretically these masks could serve as a portable test at home.


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